Sports betting has been illegal in the United States since 1992 when the PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, also known as the Bradley Act after its sponsor, former Senator and NBA player Bill Bradley) effectively outlawed it with the goal of protecting the integrity of sports. The only states where some forms of sports betting remained legal were Oregon, Delaware, Montana, and Nevada. To this day, sports betting has remained on the “other” side of the law, despite the many attempts that have been made to repeal the federal ban on the business. But does a federal ban stop people from betting – and bookmakers from taking bets? And does it protect the integrity of sports, as intended?
What happened in other parts of the world?
By pushing betting to the other side of the law, the US has become an exception rather than a trendsetter. Sports betting is legal and regulated in Europe, the area with a long sports tradition and some of the most devoted sports fans in the world. But did it ruin the integrity of sports? On the contrary – it has helped them develop and grow.
Europe is known as a more liberal area when it comes to gambling as a whole. Residents in most European countries can freely play at All Slots online casino or visit one of its numerous competitors. The All Slots stands out through its wide availability, massive game variety, and generous bonuses – which is something, considering the highly competitive nature of the market. When it comes to betting on sports, there are many major groups based in Europe, covering every sport from Indian cricket to American football.
Betting groups often sponsor sports teams, even in the leading European leagues. Besides, the biggest names in the industry have created an independent group that safeguards the integrity of sports better than any authority – by constantly keeping an eye on irregular betting patterns, the group can detect suspicious behavior right from the start, and possibly prevent match fixing and similar activities.
What happened in the US?
By banning sports betting, the US government has pushed it out of official bounds, and into the underground. Bookmakers are still taking bets on sporting events, both in real life and online, but without reporting their activities and without paying taxes on them. The money often goes into the pockets of organized crime groups, much like back in the time of alcohol prohibition. And they are operating outside the laws, which means that there’s nothing stopping them from bribing a player or threatening a referee to bend the results in their favor. Can a federal ban protect the integrity of sports under such conditions?
People are betting on sports in spite of the ban – and without the leagues and the states receiving their cut. The states are painfully aware of what they are missing out on – sports betting tax revenue would represent a welcome addition to their already tight budget. The PASPA is under a lot of scrutinies, with repeated attempts at repealing it – none of them successful so far. Could this be the year when things finally change?